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What is the Domain Name System, or DNS? 


Every computer connected to the internet has a unique IP (internet protocol) address.  These are strings of numbers that most people don't ever see, such as 216.109.118.75.  When you access a web site, you are actually visiting it via its IP address.

However, most people have a hard time remembering numbers of up to 12 digits.  That's why the smart folks who created the internet came up with the Domain Name System, or DNS.  It translates those long, boring IP addresses to the web site names we know and love, such as Yahoo.com.

How does this happen?  Roughly speaking, there are two steps:

1. When you type in a domain name, your browser looks to a DNS server to translate the name to the IP address.

2. If the DNS server doesn't have the information on how to translate the name, it talks to other DNS servers - in effect asking around to find if somone else knows the answer.

When you first register a new domain name (yourcompany.com), or when you change there server where your domain name is hosted, it can take a bit of time for this "domain name to ip address" translation information to make its way around the internet's DNS servers.  However, the process is usually done in a few hours, or in some cases up to 48 hours.

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